Microsoft is in the process of transforming its certification program to address the increasing role of cloud computing in IT and development. Is Microsoft coming late to the cloud party? Share your thoughts in the comments below.  The changes focus more on the skills of system planning and design, rather than implementation and operations. Don Field, Microsoft's senior director of product management, said the changes "will help hiring managers find people who have the skills they expect in their IT environments moving forward." Field cites feedback from customers and the Microsoft partner community for pushing the change toward cloud-oriented certifications. "Customers are saying a deeper set of [cloud] skills are warranted as well," he told MCPMag. The revised Microsoft Certification Program has three skill levels: Associate, Expert and Master. The current Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist will become the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. That certification's training emphasizes skills in software and services implementation. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, the company’s "flagship credential," geared toward IT professionals and developers with capabilities in planning, design and infrastructure. Partner certifications in the Microsoft Partner Network will now require that solution providers have a number of sales and technical staffers who've passed certification exams in specific areas such as application integration, content management, and identity and security. However, the MPN competencies are not changing.